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Published on April 22nd, 2010 | by Nick Chambers

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BMW Says First Electric Car, The Megacity, is Coming in 2013

Ahead of the 2010 Beijing Auto Show BMW has announced that the company’s first mass-produced electric car will be released in 2013. Having just completed a year’s worth of electric vehicle testing with the Mini E, the BMW group now feels it has collected enough data to go full steam ahead with battery-powered cars.

Although it is likely a bit of a bummer to Mini fans, as BMW has previously stated, the Mini E (shown above) is not slated for production. Instead, BMW will start a completely new sub-brand to sell EVs dubbed ‘Megacity.’ Reportedly, the first Megacity will be a 5-seater in the size class of a VW Golf and will have a rear-mounted motor as well as rear wheel drive.

BMW’s approach to electric cars is markedly different than that announced by other auto manufacturers. Although they will be coming a bit late to the EV parade, BMW plans on using extensive amounts of high tech carbon fiber to make their Megacity EVs stronger, safer, lighter and faster than any other electric cars on the road. The light weight is key, allowing BMW to claim that the first Megacity EV will have a 160 mile range. At 160 miles, the “short range” argument begins to get seriously muted.

And are you kidding me? A super lightweight electric car with rear wheel drive? That thing is going to be sickly fun to drive. Unfortunately there are no pictures yet, but BMW says the Megacity will be of a groundbreaking design.

Having just announced a joint venture between themselves and SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers to open a carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, Washington, BMW says they have come up with a groundbreaking method for mass manufacturing carbon fiber that will make it “affordable” for use in automobiles. “This vehicle will radically alter the motor industry as we know it,” said Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. ”The BMW Group is currently the only company that will be launching a volume-production vehicle on the market that features carbon fibre-reinforced material.”

It should be noted that a large part of the location of the carbon fiber venture in central Washington state stems from the fact that electricity is incredibly cheap here — I live here too — and comes from clean hydro power. So if you’re an EV manufacturer, what better way to claim that not only is your car clean, but so is your manufacturing process? Also, the cheap electricity certainly helps the bottom line.

Other auto manufacturers: Are you taking notes?

Source: Autocar UK


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Not your traditional car guy.



  • Evan

    Reasoning of why Washington has cheap electricity is because of British Columbia’s hydro dams and biomass generators. We outsource our power to you at a ridiculously cheap rate that has BC Canadians at an out-cry. I’m not upset or personally offended, but we over-produce and ship it over massive transmission towers that all stretch to you, our lower mainland and Alberta’s industry(everywhere really). Washington has green power due to fortunate location as well as it’s own hydro dams and generators. On the BC Hydro website they are building another major dam on the Peace River. Despite not having had any major lumber/pulp mills open in BC or Alberta. Quite opposite, a few have closed. However they are anticipating energy demand to grow. BC is currently the greenest province for technology and energy conservation. BC Hydro puts out reports about how demand is growing and uses it to pressure citizens to buy more power smart appliances. Although two thirds of the pie chart are industry and export related. They just don’t mention that fact.

    • Nick Chambers

      Evan,

      You’re not entirely correct. I live in central Washington. Right smack dab in the middle of 8 hydro dams on the Columbia River and some of its large tributaries. Our cheap electricity is a direct result of these local, U.S. dams, not from Canada’s oversupply. Although other areas of Washington, Oregon and Idaho do benefit from some Canadian hydro, almost all of central Washington’s hydro comes from local dams. Our electricity is the cheapest in the nation at 2.7 cents per kWh. Compare that to the average U.S. rate of 12 cents per kWh and you can see how easy we have it… and how enticing it can be for manufacturers.

  • Evan

    Reasoning of why Washington has cheap electricity is because of British Columbia’s hydro dams and biomass generators. We outsource our power to you at a ridiculously cheap rate that has BC Canadians at an out-cry. I’m not upset or personally offended, but we over-produce and ship it over massive transmission towers that all stretch to you, our lower mainland and Alberta’s industry(everywhere really). Washington has green power due to fortunate location as well as it’s own hydro dams and generators. On the BC Hydro website they are building another major dam on the Peace River. Despite not having had any major lumber/pulp mills open in BC or Alberta. Quite opposite, a few have closed. However they are anticipating energy demand to grow. BC is currently the greenest province for technology and energy conservation. BC Hydro puts out reports about how demand is growing and uses it to pressure citizens to buy more power smart appliances. Although two thirds of the pie chart are industry and export related. They just don’t mention that fact.

    • Nick Chambers

      Evan,

      You’re not entirely correct. I live in central Washington. Right smack dab in the middle of 8 hydro dams on the Columbia River and some of its large tributaries. Our cheap electricity is a direct result of these local, U.S. dams, not from Canada’s oversupply. Although other areas of Washington, Oregon and Idaho do benefit from some Canadian hydro, almost all of central Washington’s hydro comes from local dams. Our electricity is the cheapest in the nation at 2.7 cents per kWh. Compare that to the average U.S. rate of 12 cents per kWh and you can see how easy we have it… and how enticing it can be for manufacturers.

  • dustin

    I too am from Canada, and the forestry industry is in collapse. The auto industry needs cheap, light weight material thats strong. In Canada there is a growing industrial hemp sector. Hemp can produce 4 times as much paper per acre than timber. It can also be regrown every year, fertilizes the soil. Then theres henry ford’s first cars… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGZEMwMx2vk hemp fuel, hemp body panels, stronger than steel

  • dustin

    I too am from Canada, and the forestry industry is in collapse. The auto industry needs cheap, light weight material thats strong. In Canada there is a growing industrial hemp sector. Hemp can produce 4 times as much paper per acre than timber. It can also be regrown every year, fertilizes the soil. Then theres henry ford’s first cars… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGZEMwMx2vk hemp fuel, hemp body panels, stronger than steel

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